MU Extension 4-H youth 'show' businesses at state fair

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Taylor Thiessen, 15, of the Hallsville Go Getters 4-H Club of Boone County, was among 21 University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth selected to sell original handmade items to Missouri State Fair attendees. Taylor exhibited leather wrap bracelets, memory wire wrap bracelets, custom-made charms and personalized jewelry, which she sells as part of her business, Bloomin' Embellishments.

Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Story source:

Steven A. Henness, 573-884-6618

SEDALIA, Mo. – Twenty-one 4-H youth got a taste of running a small business by selling original handmade items to Missouri State Fair visitors, Aug. 10-20.

Through the Show Me 4-H Wares program, youth are encouraged to start and run their own businesses with skills learned through 4-H projects, says Steve Henness, University of Missouri Extension state 4-H youth specialist.

Exhibitors sold a wide range of handcrafted items at the fair, from wooden cutting boards, keychains, and brain teaser games, to gemstone jewelry, photo greeting cards and fishing flies. Altogether, youth earned more $1,500 in 4-H project sales, and learned how to calculate and remit state sales tax.

Participating in the sales booth is a lot like showing an animal at the fair, says Henness. “By the time 4-H members set up and are ready to sell, they have already put in hours of sweat, toil and preparation. When the booth begins, they are in the show ring, showcasing themselves and their work for all to see.”

Exhibitors received lots of interest from fairgoers, boosting their confidence and making the hours of work seem more worthwhile. “People stop by and look and ask questions. Some make a purchase. But every compliment a 4-H member receives is like another ribbon earned!” adds Henness.

The 4-H sales booth was a part of a larger display showing how the University of Missouri extends youth, workforce and business development to communities. A recent study found that MU Extension makes more than a tenfold return on investment, generating $950 million for Missouri communities each year.

4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and part of the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit